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Sociolinguistics Lunch: Aaron Dinkin ( U. Penn)

OCT 05, 2012 | 2:00 PM TO 4:00 PM



The Graduate Center
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October 05, 2012: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM




Two Types of Dialect Features and Two Types of Dialect Boundaries

Abstract: In this paper I discuss the dialectology of one phonetic and one lexically specific variable in Upstate New York, comparing the locations of the isoglosses defined by these features to each other and to other known historical and present-day isoglosses in the region. The boundaries of the Northern Cities Shift, the phonetic variable, correspond to the isoglosses determined on the basis of lexical variables in mid-20th Century dialectological research (Kurath 1949). On the other hand, the isogloss of the lexical variable, the pronunciation of words like "elementary" with a stressed penult, resembles no other known dialect boundary; instead, it corresponds to the popularly identifiable boundary between Upstate and Downstate New York. This comparison leads me to formulate the following hypothesis about the evolution of dialect boundaries: yesterday's lexical isoglosses are tomorrow's phonetic isoglosses.